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Is it legal to use their wi-fi without their permission?

EDIT: So is it legal or not? In international law probably, cause im getting too many different answers?!?!?!

asked Apr 06 '11 at 07:24

iTechnologyz's gravatar image


edited Apr 27 '11 at 10:41


If you got the permission, why not use it!

(Apr 07 '11 at 14:56) Viper92Z Viper92Z's gravatar image

What if I don't have?

(May 09 '11 at 01:16) iTechnologyz iTechnologyz's gravatar image

12next page »

It is Illegal, In England at least. I do not think it is morally wrong but it is lawfully wrong.

In England The Communications Act of 2003 states "a person who (a) dishonestly obtains an electronic communications service, and (b) does so with intent to avoid payment of a charge applicable to the provision of that service, is guilty of an offence".

I'm sure there is a similar, if not the same law in place in the good ol' USA.

answered Apr 06 '11 at 23:06

Mattophobia's gravatar image

Mattophobia ♦♦

edited Apr 06 '11 at 23:07

It is legal in PR.

(Apr 11 '11 at 19:14) Patxi Patxi's gravatar image

I would say that it is legal.

Let's say you're outside one night, and your neighbor has his light on. Would it still be illegal (as long as you didn't trespass onto his/her property) to read a book using their light?

answered Apr 06 '11 at 11:18

catchatyou's gravatar image



Sorry to tell you that your theory is completely wrong, that neighbor might not have any clue about WiFi security, nor it's public. So by using it you're slowing the connection down(in case they had a slow connection), you're joining a personal network which might have some personal objects(Pictures,music, videos).Here is an example to get you close to your theory, would you use your neighbor's hose to wash your car when your neighbor is going to pay the monthly bills.

(Apr 07 '11 at 14:56) Viper92Z Viper92Z's gravatar image

Well, let's see. They chose to not secure their wi-fi network. If they didn't know how to secure it, why would I join it anyways, because it would most-likely be slow (unless it's public wi-fi which is never as fast as your home connection).

If I were to use their hose to wash my car, I would be stealing physical property. Would it be wrong if I stood on my side of my property and extended a vacuum hose over to their side and "steal their air?"

Stealing wi-fi is a morality issue, and I don't think that it is fully applicable to law.

(Apr 08 '11 at 12:26) catchatyou catchatyou's gravatar image

Agreed. Not applicable by law but by ethics.

(Apr 11 '11 at 09:04) Alekz Alekz's gravatar image

I'm going to say no. If I leave my door unlocked, is it legal for you to walk in, and use my stuff? Yes, it may be my fault, but that doesn't change your intent. You are stealing, plain and simple...In my mind, the key word here is "intent"

answered Apr 06 '11 at 20:32

PcDad's gravatar image


edited Apr 06 '11 at 23:20

Technically, using someone's wi-fi without their permission is stealing and can be prosecuted. However, in my opinion, it's like arguing breaking & entering when the door isn't locked and the robber isn't armed. Even worse, you can barely prove the wi-fi was stolen. Sure, you can go off and list a few ways to detect the packets etc, but the permission part comes down to he said she said.

answered Apr 06 '11 at 23:18

Duodave's gravatar image


Its technically legal because they made the decision not to secure their network, and to have it visible. Therefore, they are literally advertising free internet.

However, HACKING or GUESSING a WiFi password would most definitely be illegal if you did it and connected without permission.

answered Apr 07 '11 at 18:08

SkinnyBill's gravatar image


no it's not legal. the thing is it's hard to know who is stealing the wifi sometimes

answered Apr 06 '11 at 07:31

AlphaMaleWolf's gravatar image


It is legal, Whether or not it's ethical to use an incompetent persons Wifi which they weren't aware was open is another question.

answered Apr 06 '11 at 17:19

nso95's gravatar image


If A store owner left open his door and granted you access to anything you want, it would be legal to take something! same with Wifi

answered Apr 06 '11 at 17:21

Saakeman's gravatar image



Really? Whenever I go to a store,the door is opened and unlocked. Does that mean I can just walk in and take whatever I want? What about after it's closed, and the owner forgets to lock the door? Does that make it ok?

(Apr 06 '11 at 22:07) PcDad PcDad's gravatar image

It is legal cause its their fault for not securing their own network, on the other hand I wouldn't do it as I have my own router and its not very fair to use their connection.

answered Apr 06 '11 at 17:59

Liam's gravatar image


This really is a unknown thing. I have never heard a story of someone being arrested for using someones open wi-fi. However, it is stealing because the owner is paying for the internet and you are using what they are paying for for free. However some will argue that it is not costing them more money, which is true.

Look at it this way: Lets say that you leave your car doors unlocked with the keys on the seat for whatever reason it is illegal from someone to come up and take your car and drive away even though you have left it open.

There are just too many "ifs" so it really is just better to not use it if you can use your own.

I am not going to deny that I have not taken advantage of open wi-fi before on my iPod because I have. But I still say that it is stealing.

answered Apr 06 '11 at 19:24

TheTechDude's gravatar image


edited Apr 06 '11 at 20:36

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Asked: Apr 06 '11 at 07:24

Seen: 3,190 times

Last updated: May 22 '11 at 02:11